LMC, Next Digital End Commercial Partnership As Redstrike Takes Over

The League Management Company (LMC) and Next Digital Broadcasting Company Limited (Next Digital) have confirmed that the commercial relationship between both parties have come to an end.

The LMC and Next Digital entered into a 5-year, joint venture agreement on 12 November 2019 for the production, distribution, sales and commercialisation of Nigeria Professional Football League broadcast assets.

But a year on from that agreement and with no progress being made, the LMC entered into a separate five-year “strategic and investment partnership” with the Nigerian arm of UK-based sports marketing firm Redstrike Sports to commercialise the NPFL.

The new deal which was signed in September, saw speculation mount over the status of the earlier arrangement with Next Digital and spawned several media reports of rifts and legal dispute between both parties.

But a joint statement issued on Friday 16 October 2020, by the LMC and Next Digital refuted reports of any rifts between both parties while also confirming their commercial relationship has ceased and been “superceeded” presumably by the Redstrike deal.

There were, however, no explanations as to why both parties decided to end their commercial partnership with four years left of the deal. It wasn’t clear either, what the terms of settlement were, if any, between both parties for the early termination of the contract although they reiterated that all “contentious matters” was amicably resolved.

Next Digital also endorsed the new commercial arrangement between the LMC and Redstrike.

The statement which was signed by LMC chairman Shehu Dikko and Prince Malik Ado-Ibrahim for Next Digital read in part,
“It has come to the attention of the League Management Company Ltd (“LMC”) and Next Digital Broadcasting Company Ltd (“Next Digital”) “the Companies” that, certain persons have taken it upon themselves to publish either by themselves or through others unauthorized, views and comments about the business and commercial relationship between LMC and Next Digital.

“Therefore, for the avoidance of doubt and as a matter of records we hereby state as follows:

”That our companies have not at any time or under any guise authorized or mandated any individual or persons to pronounce upon or disseminate documents concerning the commercial and contractual relationship of our companies.

“That any individual or persons who purport to pronounce upon our contractual relationship for or against either of our companies does so unauthorized, unsolicited and such individual or persons are busybodies and meddlesome interlopers.

“That both LMC and Next Digital reaffirm that they at one point, entered into a commercial relationship for the clear objectives of developing NPFL and indeed Nigeria football, which has now ended and been superseded. We affirm our mutual understanding and clear resolution of any miscommunication and, hereby confirm that all contentious matters between the companies have been resolved amicably.

“That in particular, Next Digital acknowledges the LMC/Redstrike Group Strategic Partnership for the development of the NPFL Commercial Rights.

“That the companies have duly held a joint meeting on 8th October 2020, at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja and on the same day briefed the NFF ad-hoc Committee, led by NFF 1st Vice President and Chairman NFF Legal Committee, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, of the conclusions set out above.

“That in conclusion, the companies duly note and appreciate the role of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), led by President Amaju Melvin Pinnick, the Participating Clubs of the NPFL and other critical stakeholders, for their total support of the LMC/Redstrike Strategic Partnership going forward for the growth, technical and commercial success of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) and Football in Nigeria”.